Shredding tires makes safer playgrounds

Shredded tires
Here at Hooniverse, we are all about shredding tires. I recently took my son to playground in West New York, which is actually in New Jersey. The playground was a typical one; fenced in, with three different sets of swing sets. What was different about it, was that in place of typical wood chips of pricey soft padding, the soft ground was composed of… shredded tires!
Shredded tires playground
The material, if in fact it was shredded tires, was very soft. There were no steel belts to be seen, all pieces was soft and pliable, and everything visual pointed to this being actual old tires. I thought this was a great idea! Old tires are not just for swings anymore!


  1. The one downside I learned from the city firechief at my last job is if one of those shredded tire playgrounds catches on fire, it’ll literally never stop burning and they wouldn’t bother trying to put it out.
    Food for thought.

    1. Wouldn’t it take a lot to get it started in the first place, though — like someone dousing it in an accelerant and lighting it with a torch?

      1. This particular playground was between three buildings, one of which was at a high fire risk at the time because of the sprinkler system being messed up, hence the firechief’s warning.

  2. The playgrounds at my kids’ school are lined with these shredded tires, dyed burgundy to
    boot. My understanding is that this ground cover dramatically reduces impact from
    falling, so even with monkey bars and other “dangerous” equipment,
    broken bones from falls are mostly a thing of the past.
    If it means my young’uns can explore the more hazardous equipment without the threat of my crappy health insurance deductible looming over my head, then I’m all for it!

    1. I’ve wondered that myself. We have one of those old school tire swings in our yard, the kind where you cut the tread out of 2/3 of the tire and tie the ropes to the loops created by the sidewalls. It took a while to find an appropriate bias ply tire. My farmer brother in law saved the day with an old wagon tire.

          1. Thanks! That is one less thing I’ll stay up at night wondering about.

          2. Around the 0:40 mark is removing the bead wire not the belts. at the ~2:15 mark is where they are removing the remains of the belts.

  3. The indoor rock climbing gym near me recently disposed of all their shredded tires, installing custom mats instead. Apparently there were sanitary issues with the tires.

    1. That was my first thought. Imagining the heat absorbed by a thousand chewed up tires. Could probably cook a stew in it.

  4. In my neck of the woods, companies and municipalities regularly shift the soil around and below playgrounds because one and another pollutant has been detected. I wonder if tires are perfectly save in that sense?

  5. Many turf fields are now made with an underlayment of shredded tire pellets that have to be smoothed out with a vibratory compactor-like device every so often. Since the pellets get small enough through wear to penetrate the turf they have to be replenished after each season as well. Most athletes hate turf fields and not just because of the increased possibility of knee injuries. When you come off the field after a match not only do you have the rubber residue all over you but you also smell like a sweaty tire factory. It’s worse for summer athletes because the surface traps heat and slowly releases it, making the temperature of the playing surface much warmer than the air temperature just a few feet off the field. The school I work at will be switching to a turf field in their stadium within a few years for maintenance reasons and no one is looking forward to it.

    1. Not only that, but the pellets get in EVERYTHING – clothing, shoes, bags, gear, and cars. Also, imagine taking a fall on a turf field with rubber. Ouch.

  6. Discount Tire (America’s Tire in some areas) sells a mulch for flower beds made from recycled tires, and it’s offered in three different brown or reddish-brown colors. It’s called GroundSmart.
    I did a quick Google search and found a PDF doc by an organic gardening company near Houston, telling all the reasons you shouldn’t use shredded rubber:

  7. Way back when the preschool my daughter went to had the shredded tire mulch in the play ground area. We would always find bits of it that stuck to her clothes, made their way into her pockets ect. It was a pain. The wood chips at the school she then went to did not seem to end up coming home with her.

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